The Art and Science of Sports Concussion Management: Introduction to Issue Two of the Special Series
Introduction to the Special Issue on Sport Concussion: Clinical Best Practices for Assessment and Management
Lynda Mainwaring and Max Trenerry
This current special issue of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology was conceived and developed to provide a resource for clinicians who have contact with athletes who are at risk for or have sustained a concussion during sport participation. The special issue is part of an exciting two-issue series. This first installment contains papers from leaders in the field of sport concussion who review the frequency and mechanisms of concussion, models for managing concussion, the emotional aspects of concussion in sport, practical examples from a model sport concussion clinic, and the importance of sport concussion education and prevention. As Guest Editors, we hope that this timely and unique special series will be used by clinicians who help care for athletes and their families who have experienced concussion in their sport life.
A Model of Current Best Practice for Managing Concussion in University Athletes: The University of Toronto Approach
Paul Comper, Michael Hutchison, Doug Richards, and Lynda Mainwaring
Along with the ever growing awareness among the scientific community and the general public that concussion is a serious health care issue at all levels of sport, with potentially devastating long term health effects, the number of concussion surveillance clinical monitoring programs has significantly increased internationally over the past 10–15 years. An effective concussion program (a “best practice” model) is clinically prudent and evidence-based, one that is an interdisciplinary model involving health professionals who manage, educate, and provide psychosocial support to athletes. The integration of neuropsychological assessment is a component of many present day programs, and therefore, the neuropsychologist is an integral member of the concussion management team. The University of Toronto Concussion Program, operational since 1999, integrates best practices and current evidence into a working model of concussion management for university athletes. The model uses an interdisciplinary approach to monitor and assess athletes with concussions, as well as to educate its athletes, coaches, and administrators. A research component is also integral to the program.
Examining Emotional Sequelae of Sport Concussion
Lynda Mainwaring, Michael Hutchison, Paul Camper, and Doug Richards
Depression, fatigue, irritability, confusion, and general mood disturbance are frequently reported after cerebral concussion in sport. Recent trends in research point to the importance of examining postconcussive emotional disturbances more thoroughly, empirically, and clinically. An overview of the complexity of human emotion and its study is provided herein, followed by a review of emotional correlates identified in the existing sparse literature. The significance and clinical implications of identifying emotional correlates of concussion in sport and athletics are discussed.
Sport as Laboratory: Lessons Learned From Baseline and Postconcussion Assessment Research
Lynda Mainwaring, Paul Comper, Michael Hutchison, and Doug Richards
Knowledge and awareness of sport concussion has been forwarded by research modeled on the neuropsychological testing paradigm associated with Barth’s “sport as laboratory” assessment model. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate lessons learned from that research. Key considerations for planning and implementing large-scale studies of concussion in sport while making adequate provision for the clinical needs of concussed athletes are reviewed. Toward that end, logistical, methodological, and ethical considerations are discussed within the context of research conducted in a university setting. Topics addressed include culture of sport and risk; research planning and design; communication with strategic partners; defining injury; choosing a test battery; data management, outcomes, and analyses; dissemination of results; and finally, clinical and ethical implications that may arise during the research enterprise. The paper concludes with a summary of the main lessons learned and directions for future research.
Normative Data in a Sample of Canadian University Athletes Using ANAM Tests
Michael Hutchison, Paul Comper, Lynda Mainwaring, and Doug Richards
The baseline / postconcussion neuropsychological (NP) assessment model has been shown to be of clinical value and currently contributes significant information in sport concussion evaluation. Computerized NP batteries are now widely used in elite sport environments and are rapidly becoming more commonly utilized at the community level. With the growth of computerized NP testing, it is important to identify and understand unique characteristics with respect to baseline NP performance. The Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM) is a library of computerized NP tests designed to detect speed and accuracy of attention, memory, and thinking ability. This article describes baseline ANAM test scores in a sample of Canadian university athletes and explores the following two factors: (a) performance differences between male and female student-athletes using ANAM tests and (b) the relationship between self-reported history of concussion and baseline NP performance.